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Quit from that danger forth their course they
At last they in an Isand did efpy
Seemed some great misfortune to deplore, And lowd to them for fuccour called evermore.
To stere the bote towards that dolefull Mayd,
cry; For she is inly nothing ill apayd ; But onely womanish fine forgery, XXVII. 4. That through the sea th' resounding &c.] Every edition, except both the poet's own, read “ That through the sea resounding &c." Spenser's two editions read “ the refounding &c. Mr. Upton therefore, in his note, agrees to the elision which I have admitted; and adds that, though he had followed the first folio in rejecting the, he questioned its authority in this place, and wished that he had printed it otherwise. Todd.
XXVIII. 7. For she is inly nothing ill apayd ;] So Chaucer, in the Merchants Tale :
I pray you that you be not ill apaid" That is, disatisfied. Upton.
Your stubborne hart t'affect with fraile infirmity :
XXIX. “ To which when she your courage hath inclind
Through foolish pitty, then her guilefull bayt
His tyred armes for toylesome wearinefle ; But with his oares did sweepe the watry wilder
And now they nigh approched to the sted
ne ever fought to bayt His tyred armes] To bayt here fignifies to rest. So Milton uses the word, Par. L. B. xii. 1. And Mr. Richardfon obferves, in a note on that passage, that a hawk is said to bate when he ftoops in the midst of his Alight. Bate, Fr. batre, s'abatre, to stoop.' Church. XXX. 7. And did like an halfe theatre fulfill:) That is,
There those five Sisters had continuall trade, And usd to bath themselves in that deceiptfull shade.
XXXI. They were faire Ladies, till they fondly striv'd
With th' Heliconian Maides for maystery; Of whom they over-comen were depriv'd
And did fulfill, or compleat, the whole, like to an amphitheatie. This is taken from the famous bay of Naples, described by Virgil, Æn. i. 163. imitated by Taflo, C. xv. 42. Fulfill is not to be altered, but explained. Job xxxix. 2. “ Canst thou number the months that they fulfill ?" i. e. compleat. UPTON.
XXXI. 1. They were faire Ladies, &c.] It is plain by this and by what follows, that Spenser designed here to describe the Älermaids as Sirens. He has done it contrary to mythology: for the Sirens were not part women and part fishes, as Spenser and other moderns have imagined, but part women and part birds. They were the daughters of one of the Muses, as fome relate. We learn from the einperor Julian that they contended with the Muses, but that the Muses overcame them, took their wings away, and adorned themselves with them as with trophies, and in token of their victory, Epift
. xli. Jortin. By the Sirens are imaged sensual pleasures; hence Spenser makes their number five : but the poets and mythologists as to their number vary. I refer the curious reader to the Schol. on Hom. Od. s' ver. 39; to Hyginus in Præfat. Ex Acheloo et Melpomene Sirenes, &c. and Fab. cxli; to Natalis Comes, Lib. vii. Cap. xiii; and to Barnes, Eurip. Helen. ver. 166. But thould you alk, why did not Spenser follow rather the ancient poets and mythologists, than the moderns in making them Mermaids ? My answer is, Spenser has a mythology of his own : nor would he leave his brethren the romance-writers, where merely authority is to be put against authority. Boccace has given a sanction to this description, Geneal. Deorum, Lib. vii. Cap. 20. Let me add our old poets, as Gower, Fol. x. 2, and Chaucer, Rom. of the Rose, ver. 680. Vossius has followed it too, “ Sirenes dicebantur tria marina monstra, quorum unumquodque, ut Horatii verbis utar, Definit in piscem mulier forinofa fuperne." See Voflius, Etymolog. in V. Sirenes.
Of their proud beautie, and th’ one moyity Transform’d to fish for their bold surquedry ; But th’ upper halfe their hew retayned still, And their sweet skill in wonted melody;
Which ever after they abusd to ill, T'allure weake traveillers, whom gotten they
So now to Guyon, as he passed by,
plyde; “ O thou fayre fonne of gentle Faëry, That art in mightie armes most magnifyde Above all Knights that ever batteill tryde, O turne thy rudder hetherward awhile : Here may thy storme-bett vesfell fafely ryde; This is the Port of rest from troublous toyle,
their bold furquedry;] Pride. See the note on furquedry, F. Q. v. ii. 30. TODD. XXXI. 6. But th’ upper halfe their hew retayned fill,
And their sweet skill] That is, And they retained their sweet skill: They is often omitted in Spenser: 'tis elliptically expreffed. See Ovid, Met. v. 563.
Virginei vultus et vox huinana remansit.” Uptox. XXXII. 3. O thoni fayre fonne &c.] This song of the Mer'maids is copied from Homer, Od. f'. 184. where the Sirens say to Ulyfles :
Δεύρ' άγιων πολύαιν' οδυσσεύ, μέγα κύδος 'Αχαιών,
Ου γαρ σω τις τηδε %. Ti à, Jortin. XXXII. 8. This is the Port of rejt &c.] Perhaps he borsowed his from Tatlo, C. xv. 63.
“ Questo è il porto del mondo, e qui il ristoro
The worldes sweet In from paine and wearisome
With that the rolling sea, resounding soft,
In his big base them fitly answered ;
That he the Boteman bad row easily, And let him heare some part of their rare melody
With temperate advice discounselled,
XXXIII. 1. With that &c.] This is very beautiful, and is Spenser's own invention, as far as I know. JORTIN.
A similar idea occurs in a subsequent work, viz. Partheneia Sacra, printed in 1633. See p. 8. “ Those water-works, conduits, and aquaducts, which yet you might heare to make a gentle murmur throughout, affording an apt Base for the birds to defcant on. Topp.
XXXIV. 5. When suddeinly a große fog over Spred &c.] ”Tis plain that during the whole voyage of this Knight, and his sober conductor, our poet bad in view the voyage of Ulysses; especially the xiith book of Homer's Odylley, where the wise hero meets with the adventures of the Sirens, Scylla, and Charybdis; soon after follows his shipwreck, and his arrival at the iDand of Calypso. Compare Virgil, Æn. i. 92. Upton.